US power output satellite view

A blizzard slams the East Coast and the lights go out. Then they stay off. Is it an attack? How do we figure out who’s behind it? What do we do in retaliation? These are all questions that need answering since what looks like the first successful cyber attack on an entire nation’s power grid. Ukraine says that… Keep reading →

Coast Guard ice breaker Healy

We’ve got something here for Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Angus King and Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft to read before they speak Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on “National Security Challenges and Icebreaking Operations in the Arctic.” Scott Truver, known to most serious students of Navy shipbuilding, argues the case for icebreakers.… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: A year after the Navy’s last Chief Information Officer left to become CIO of the entire Defense Department, the Navy Department is bringing in new blood to fill its CIO position: Rob Foster. A retired Navy officer with extensive acquisition and IT experience, Foster has served as deputy CIO of both HHS and ICE (Immigration &… Keep reading →

Coast Guard HQ DHS campus

A colleague and I wrote a 10-year retrospective assessment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2011, calling the organization a “colossal, inefficient boondoogle.” Amazingly, that didn’t land us on the no-fly list, probably because — even then — we weren’t the first, last or only critics of DHS. The actions and events that provided fodder for… Keep reading →

Mike McConnell DNI

PENTAGON CITY: Sen. Susan Collins has a bill about how to improve cyber sharing that should go to markup next week and she spoke about the challenges cyber poses to the government this morning at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance annual conference here. Three former directors of National Intelligence — John Negroponte, Mike McConnell and… Keep reading →

Adm. Mike Rogers

PENTAGON: Vice Adm. Michael Rogers

The Obama administration is getting ready to change the way the government handles cybersecurity.

The White House is preparing an executive order, a draft of which is currently circulating among federal agencies for approval, mirroring cyber legislation that recently failed to get through a Senate vote. Among other things, the order shunts much of the enforcement and management of cybersecurity issues to federal agencies. We understand that, contrary to some earlier news reports, the classified portion of the order does not contain significant new authorities but details those already existing. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: One of the grand old men of biodefense, Dr. Matthew Meselson, left his Harvard lab and came to Washington to call for greater international cooperation in monitoring new diseases, whether they arise in the wild or in the lab. The Department of Homeland Security’s process for reviewing potentially dangerous research, he said at an event hosted yesterday by the Federation of American Scientists, was a model on which to build across the US government and world-wide.

Asked whether Republicans in Congress would tolerate anything that smacks of arms control, Meselson said that international cooperation was the only way to safeguard the country against biological threats. “We’re protecting against a devastating epidemic that comes out of China and kills all the Americans,” he said, referring to the recent outbreaks — bird flu (H5N1) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) — that have started in Asia. “Infectious agents don’t stop at frontiers, they don’t have passports.” Keep reading →